"THE FAITH OF OUR FATHERS"(Cont.)
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report"-Hebrews 11:1,2
Today, let us continue to learn from our "elders" as we examine other faithful men and women found in our "Faith Hall of Fame". Great encouragement may be found in this little chapter as we see how God's people, in other ages, overcame great trials by their faith in God. Let us begin with Noah, from whom we will learn that fear and faith work together for our good.
BUILDING BY FAITH
"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house"-v7a. Though many will scoff at God's little children for believing in things that they can not see with the natural eye, the greatest feats that have ever been performed were accomplish by faith. By faith, Noah, the amateur ship builder, constructed a boat that survived the greatest storm this earth has ever seen. The Titanic was built by experts and did not survive its first voyage. In his "Body of Divinity", John Gill said, "Faith is to the soul as the natural eye is to the body". Genuine faith is not stepping out into thin air. Faith attaches itself to something that God has said, something that can not be seen with the natural eye or touched with the natural senses, but just as real. If it were seen, we would need no faith.
One-hundred and twenty years before God destroyed the earth with a flood, He told Noah about His plan. To us, that may seem like an easy enough thing to believe, but we must remember that it had never rained previously to the great flood. The earth was watered by vapors and mists. Therefore, Noah was warned of God of "things not seen as yet."
Noah took God seriously. He believed that God would do what He said He would do. That is simple faith. Though he had never seen it rain or built a boat, much less an ark of such enormity, he followed God's instruction precisely. This teaches us that we build by faith. We build our families; our churches; and our lives upon the things that God has said to us through His word. Though the infidels may scoff, the faithful will build and enjoy salvation.
NOAH PREACHED BY FAITH
Not only did Noah build the ark, he began to warn others of the impending danger. Peter refers to him as a "preacher of righteousness". Day after day, Noah hammered away at this great ark, located nowhere near a body of water, and preached to people about their sin and the impending judgment of God. People laughed at him, ridiculed him, talked about him behind his back and mocked him. Noah is a figure of Christ. I can just hear the scientists of Noah's day saying, "Noah, you are way over your head. There is no such thing as rain. What you are suggesting is scientifically impossible." But when the flood came the scoffers' mouths were filled with water. It is not for preachers to preach their own opinions. Nor is it their job to tell people what they want to hear. By faith, they just tell people what God has revealed to them. The results are in God's hands. So are the people.
FEAR AND FAITH
From this we may learn that fear and faith compliment one another. Noah's faith in God's word, kindled by a healthy fear of God's wrath, moved him to build the ark and preach to others. Genuine faith goes beyond believing. Faith takes action in what has been said. James wrote, "Faith without works is dead". Oh, that we saw such fear of God today! Noah's faith was expressed in every nail, every board, every sermon, for one-hundred and twenty years. Noah feared God more than man. He told people the truth as he built the great ark. In one sense, his ark was his sermon. Do you see how fear and faith work together? We are not to become weary in well doing. We shall reap if we faint not. What has God said to you through His word? Let us get our hammers and nails and begin to build our ark upon the sure foundation of God's word.
The Lord willing, we will continue our discussion of "The Faith of Our Fathers' next week. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00.
By His mercy and grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor